On September 30th, a ceremonial turf cutting took place– at Langlands in St Andrews–to signify the beginning of construction for the new Madras College building. As of now, Madras Secondary School works as a split campus with buildings on Kilrymont Road and South Street, in the town center. The new building project means all of the students will be together on one campus further out of town. While the date of completion for the £50 million building project remains unset, Fife Council hopes that the new facilities will be ready for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Due to criticism from school inspectors for the split campus back in 2006, Fife Council has been trying to build a new school for over a decade. Multiple setbacks with the project, including in 2011 when negotiations between Madras and the University of St Andrews failed, caused delays for the new campus’ construction. This year, a formal agreement between the Council and the University solidified the project. The University agreed to take over the Madras South Street campus and in exchange, Madras agreed to the University’s property at Langlands as the site for the new building. In addition, Fife council will give £2.5 million to help build an access road from the A91 to the new Madras campus. Until the completion of the Langlands buildings, the University will lease the South Street Campus to Madras School.
The Madras community can look forward to various benefits brought about by the new building project. The merge of the two campuses will allow Madras students to be in one location; as a result, the community will likely grow closer. A new building also means modern facilities for students and teachers. This includes new classrooms, a cafeteria, science labs, and even a two-story games hall with a courtyard and an assembly hall. In addition, the new facilities promise a parking lot with 172 spaces for cars, 19 spaces for coach buses, and 112 bike spaces. The school will be three stories high and it will be able to hold up to 1,450 students. With the change in location, Madras students will no longer be based in the center of town. As a result, they will have less contact with townspeople, tourists, golfers, and university students.
This project will also have a significant impact on the University. When the buildings at Langland open, the lease to Madras School will end, and the University will be able to make use of the facilities. It remains unclear what exactly the building will be used for, but it will allow for a spatial expansion within the University. The move also entails that university and Madras students will come into contact less, which in some instances may be for the better.
While for the most part Madras and St Andrews students co-exist without much effort, such large populations of minors and young adults in close proximity holds potential for friction between the two groups. Especially during the Madras lunch period, Tesco becomes a variable jungle of students trying to buy lunch. Groups of school children hang around the town after school hours and often seem to find it amusing to heckle university students. This interplay usually goes without any serious conflict, but adding a layer of separation between the students promises less potential for issue.
Overall, there appear to be many advantages to the new campus at Langlands. Madras students and teachers will benefit from new facilities and a closer-knit community while the University will acquire a new building and students will likely appreciate the additional space. The turf-cutting at Langlands indicates a new era for the town of St Andrews and promises betterment for all students, university and high school alike.